SES 2012: Meaningful SEO Performance Metrics

Aaron Friedman, SEO Manager for Spark moderated this panel featuring Ryan Jones, SEO Manager of Sapient and Chris Keating, VP, SEO and Conversion Optimization at Performics.

Ryan talked about the importance of goals. He suggested measuring what makes sense, not just things that are measurable. He defined the following as viable SEO goals:

  • Sales
  • Leads
  • KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)
  • LFAs (Lower Funnel Activities)

The following are not valid SEO goals:

  • Keyword Rankings
  • Visits
  • Video Views
  • Facebook Likes
  • Twitter Followers

Reporting vs. Analytics

These two are different. Reporting shows what the number is. Analytics tells why and what to do about it. Goals should be actionable. If what you’re doing doesn’t offer actions or insights, it’s reporting, not analytics.

Ryan also mentioned to familiarize yourself with Google’s Webmaster Tools, because pretty soon it will be the only natural search data we have.

Chris stressed the importance of your client’s goals, and how your SEO goals should align with them. You client most likely doesn’t care about indexation metrics, number of backlinks, and they might not even care about traffic. Your job is to know what they care about.

Chris also discussed a number of “trap” metrics: he advised caution when migrating from one analytics program to another. He also advised against using traffic as a success metric. He also warned against the rankings trap fail, and advised that in this day and age “there is no one single objective ranking.”